Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A trio of pestos... stock up the freezer... these are delicious

Frozen pesto is a boon in the winter kitchen.  Great with pasta, in soups, in sauces, it doesn't get much better than this.  So, when I found myself with too many peppers, a lot of basil and extra sun dried tomatoes (that's a problem everyone should have!), it was time to make pesto.  A traditionalist would use a mortar to make the basil pesto, but I much prefer the food processor.  I freeze it in ice cube trays, ready for use anytime...

(clockwise from the top: traditional basil, pesto rosso- dried tomato, red pepper pesto)

Pesto no. 1 is the traditional basil pesto made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic (fresh and local), olive oil.  I add the parmesan cheese after thawing.

Pesto no. 2 is pesto rosso- dried tomatoes in olive oil, olives. fresh garlic, rosemary, toasted almonds. olive oil- delicious.

Pesto no. 3 is red pepper pesto- fresh garden ripe sweet red peppers, toasted almonds, a little onion, garlic, olive oil.  Parmesan cheeses added when thawed.  Fresh tasting and delicious.

Each recipe made about 12 cubes with a little left over for immediate tasting.

1. Traditional pesto:
2 cups       fresh basil, rinsed and dried
4 tbsp       pine nuts
1/4 cup     olive oil, approximate amount, you can adjust
3 tbsp       parmesan cheese, freshly grated (if freezing, add to the thawed pesto)
2 large      garlic cloves (use the freshest available, please not the grocery story variety)

2.  Pesto rosso: (sun-dried tomato pesto
Pesto rosso with pasta and grilled vegetables
1/2 cup    olive oil
12 cup     almonds, toasted
2 tbsp.     rosemary leaves, minced
2 tsp.       balsamic vinegar
2 tsp.       sugar
12 tsp.     dried chili flakes
20            oil-cured black olives, pitted
10           sun-dried tomatoes in oil
4 cloves garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3.  Red pepper - Almond pesto
3 large   red sweet peppers, seeded and quartered
1 small  onion (or 2 shallots)
1/2 cup  toasted almonds
5 large   garlic cloves
1/2 cup  olive oil
3 tbsp    freshly grated Parmesan or 4 oz of goat cheese (if freezing, add to the thawed peso)


For the pesto rosso and the red pepper pesto: toast the almonds in a 325 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes.  

For all the pestos, place all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  If you are freezing your pesto, add the cheese just before using, when the pesto has thawed.  Slowly add the olive oil to the mixture in the food processor until you reach smooth paste-like consistency.  Place in ice-cube trays and freeze.  

When ready to use, thaw slowly in the refrigerator, add the cheese and adjust the amount of olive oil, if needed.

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